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Applying for grad school

  1. Jul 28, 2008 #1
    I'm applying for grad school this fall. i've been looking at schools and try to decide which school to apply, which is quite confusing.
    I am majoring in astrophysics and also applying to astronomy/astrophysics program.
    I've been doing some research about schools, looking for their profile in gradschoolshopper.
    I'm still anxious about what my chances are of getting into these schools.

    Here's my brief profile:
    - cumulative GPA~ 3.7/4.0 , major GPA: 3.9/4.0
    - i havn't taken PGRE yet, but i hope i will get the score of around 800.
    - I did research at my school last summer, and i am doing a research at a national lab this summer. no publications.

    school i am thinking of applying to :
    UT Austin
    U Hawaii
    Ohio State
    UC Santa Cruz

    Any advices on my chance of getting in those schools would be great, and on what school you would recommend to be a safety school.

    For others applying for grad school, what schools are you considering? and how do you choose where to apply??
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 28, 2008 #2
    Apply to
    University of Arizona
  4. Jul 28, 2008 #3


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    I had very similar stats, 3 REUs, a publication (working with people at a top school), several conference posters, and still didn't get into the schools on your list I applied to (most of them). Of course, I didn't get anywhere near a 800 on the physics GRE - most of the people who did in my year were from China. It can be a killer - don't just assume you'll get a great score. Study for it!
  5. Jul 28, 2008 #4
    Hawaii, Austin, Santa Cruz, Santa Barbara, San Diego... damn why didnt I go into astrophysics.
  6. Jul 28, 2008 #5


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    Gold Member

    I second the advice to study for the PGRE! Study a lot. I have been studying for several weeks now. I plan to take the test this October.

    After doing most of the released practice problems and talking to many people who have taken it already, I can say that the chances of getting a score >= 800 are low if you don't study.
  7. Jul 28, 2008 #6
    what score did you get on the physics GRE? and the general GRE?
  8. Jul 28, 2008 #7


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    Now I don't remember, but my percentage was something like 20%. And that was the highest score anyone at my liberal arts college got on it, and one of my friends got into Cornell (applied physics, they don't ask for GRE scores). I did well on the general, in the 80%+. I took it back when it had a logic section instead of writing.
  9. Jul 29, 2008 #8
    I only got a 730 on my PGRE (and unfortunately a pretty average profile overall) and I got into Ohio State, although they might be more competitive regarding astro folks (then, I've also heard that astro programs don't care so much about the PGRE in any case [but you should still study like a monster]).
  10. Jul 31, 2008 #9
    In studying for the GRE, is it better to go back and reread old textbooks, or focus on solving problems? Aside from looking at all the available old PGRE exams, how can one totally prepare with just a few months left?
  11. Jul 31, 2008 #10
    Nothing on the test is beyond the level of a modern physics course. Go through your Intro Physics I and II book solving as much as you have time for, then refresh on modern stuff; each modern physics topic is less highly weighted, and you're less likely to have forgotten the material already!

    That said, my biggest problem wasn't the difficulty of the questions outright, but the 1.7 minute per question time limit, so prepare under those conditions and you'll do better than I did. =)
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